Work.io: An Online Marketplace for Hiring Help

For small businesses looking to hire help or just outsource a few tasks, recruiting tools can often seem complicated, especially for businesses that aren’t large enough to have someone who’s specifically in charge of finding new talent. Work.io is a startup that aims to help connect companies with people who can help, but it does so in a new kind of way that may seem more familiar.

Work.io

The site, which launched last week, positions the company looking to hire as the “buyer” and creates a sort of online shopping experience for professional talent.

Businesses can browse through the specific skill sets and experience they’re looking for, whether it’s legal research, lead generation, or anything in between. Companies can also specify whether they need quick help for one specific project, or potentially a larger workload.

Once companies use the Work.io template to specify their needs, the site then finds relevant matches in its database and pitches the job to potential workers. They can then respond to the posting, including information such as rate, skills, experience, and bio.

Companies can see who is responding and how many individuals they’ve reached with their posting in real time. They also have the opportunity to reach out and speak with anyone involved at any time throughout the process.

Anyone can create a profile on the site, but Work.io controls who has access to the actual site database based on how well their skills and expertise match up with demand from businesses. So instead of wading through classifieds or creating a post on a general recruiting site, users of Work.io have access to a sort of curated list of potential help.

For companies, this type of site could potentially simplify the whole recruiting process by turning it into a more familiar kind of user experience, like an online marketplace. But it could also be helpful for business professionals who want to market their existing skills to gain freelance or consulting work.  The constant stream of leads targeted to your experience could not only help freelance workers or very small businesses gain jobs, but it could also help create contacts in industries where you may continue to find work in the future.

However, this isn’t the only site currently available that matches companies with new talent. Services like oDesk and Taskrabbit that help companies outsource certain jobs and tasks have been gaining some popularity and support in recent months.

But Work.io claims to have a more simplistic approach and fewer hoops for companies to jump through when looking to hire.

The post Work.io: An Online Marketplace for Hiring Help appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How To Hire Employees as a Young Entrepreneur

Hiring the right employees is exceedingly hard regardless of your age, however for the young entrepreneur, recruiting can get extra tricky.  To fully examine its complex nature, we must first look at the reasons to hire employees and not to hire employees; this should help determine whether you should be hiring or should be working more.

When to Hire

As a young entrepreneur, youth is a big advantage when it comes to having a great deal of energy.  However, youth is a disadvantage as many start-ups run by young entrepreneurs don’t have much capital behind them and struggle to pay the bills as is.

Since hiring not only involves paying payroll (include taxes, health insurance, additional benefits, lawyer fees for non-compete, unemployment insurance, etc.), I would strongly suggest only hiring when you absolutely need to.  If you can learn something on your own, take the time and do so as nobody is going to care about your business as much as you do.

Though, if you’re blue in the face and weak in the knees, let’s move on:

How To Hire

There are many ways to find employees and I would not recommend a simple Craigslist posting.  Prior to doing anything, consider the following:

1. What you would like the person to be doing on a daily basis?

2. What you can afford to pay the individual?  The more trained, the more expensive is the typical rule.

3. What is your corporate culture or your ideal corporate culture that you wish to set up?

4. What type of background and years of experience are you seeking?  One tip I could give is not to hire someone older than you as you don’t want to hire a mentor, you want an employee.  While you can’t be age discriminate by law, if you find someone that is older who can do the job, great…just make sure that the boundary lines are set from day 1.

Writing a Job Description

Now, it’s time to write the highly important job description.  You should be able to take the above information and put it in a neat few paragraphs which should not only serve for advertising purposes, but it should also serve for a “pitch” a.k.a. what you are going to say when you initially interview the individual.

Also, I would recommend including certain things such as the benefits of working at your company in the job description as recruiting in a smaller company can be quite difficult as potential employees can see you as a failure risk.

Prior to asking the interview questions, I always find it best to discuss my client (the recruiting party) in a manner that is interesting and that reflects their positive aspects prior to me asking for information.  The conversation tends to flow better.

Interview Process

The interview process should be at least 2 if not 3 interviews.  Don’t hire just to hire.  I have had a lot of bad luck doing that and have seen my clients have trouble as well.  Do your due diligence and ask the questions that need to be asked.

If they don’t want to answer, then go to the next applicant.  Make sure you have plenty of options as the more options we have, the better choice(s) we’re going to make.

In the End

Recruiting is very tricky, but it can be a lot easier on the young entrepreneur if he / she takes the methodical steps to make it more simplistic.  While I could write volumes on the topic, the above should give you a good head-start.  Happy Recruiting!

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement www.kasplacement.com an executive search firm specializing in sales and marketing recruitment for organizations from over 30 countries.  Sundheim founded the company at age 25.

Ivana Taylor is Curious About Why People Buy

Some of us know what we want to do “when we grow up” from a young age. However, Ivana Taylor, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Third Force, took a while longer:

Ivana Taylor“I got into marketing the day I registered for classes at Penn State.  

I was there to register as a Chemical Engineering major and as I sat and waited my turn, I realized that I wasn’t nearly as passionate about engineering as I needed to be.

As I flipped through page after page of the different majors I landed on Marketing right when they called my name!”

She’s been immersed in marketing for the past 25 years – and loves it.

Curiosity Fuels Her Business

Whether she was working in a corporation doing marketing or running her popular DIYMarketers blog and community, curiosity has always been the driving force behind Taylor’s marketing efforts:

“My curiosity and interest in how people buy and why people buy has never changed.  It’s just grown.  I went into consulting in 1999 and when I had to convert my “jobs” into a service offer, I realized that my gift was in helping my clients become THE ONE their ideal customers choose regardless of price.”

Taylor focuses on helping small businesses with their marketing. Her clients tend to have sales of less than $1 million, and are overwhelmed with not knowing the best way to market their brands. She says she loves the commitment that small business owners have to build and create something that makes the world a better place.

“Tayloring” a Marketing Solution

Realizing that there was not one marketing strategy that suits all business types, Taylor recently launched a unique marketing style assessment that helps business owners choose their three best marketing strategies based on their unique marketing style on DIYMarketers. Once a visitor fills out the assessment, they are sent a customized report that helps them define their unique selling proposition and develop their brand to leverage the marketing strategies.

From Behind-the-Scenes to the Limelight
Taylor was heavily involved in coordinating the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards, which she said was even better this year because voters had the opportunity to leave supporting comments and testimonials for their favorite nominees:

“My favorite part of the SMBInfluencer Awards is the focus on putting a spotlight on what I call the invisible heroes and influencers of small business.”

* * * * *

Editor’s Note: This article is one of a series of interviews of key players in the Small Business Influencer Awards.

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Real Estate Content Strategy: SEO And Your Blog

If content writers had cocktail parties, I imagine things would go along quite swimmingly for a half hour or so: interesting conversation would be peppered with the most random factoids that only content writers would ever know.  Then, somewhere around the bottom of everyone’s first glass, I can envision some disagreements breaking out.

You see, we’re not all of the same camp.

search

I’m imagining an argument about SEO (search engine optimization) developing.  The fact is, there are some copywriters who want to stuff their blog posts and static website pages with every keyword imaginable, over, and over, and over.  Then, there are others who will use a keyword twice, and pat themselves on the back for writing an essay worthy of Montaigne.

Surely there’s a medium, wouldn’t you agree?

The Perks of SEO Focus

When it comes to real estate, there are many reasons why you might want your content to be SEO heavy.  The truth is 94% of homebuyers begin their search for a new home online.  96% of first time homebuyers begin their search online.

Are you getting excited?  Or, are you freaking out because you don’t have an online presence?  Hang with me here!

When that many people are looking for a home online, it’s inevitable that the search engine terms they use are going to be all over the map.  “My Title Guy” says that 50% of Google searches will happen once, and are never performed again.  Wow!

So how do you combat those daunting statistics?  The SEO camp would say you stuff your content with keywords in an effort to grab onto all the Web traffic you can.

But What About Quality?

If you’re like me, you might be feeling just a little bit uneasy about that approach.  Sure, you want to get traffic, but you also want to have a little style… a little flair, right?  Well, you can.  If you’re new to this wonderful world of real estate content marketing, then there’s one thing you’ve got to know about:

Landing Pages

Landing pages are the hubs that take your visitors from the busy streets of Google into the quiet, nicely decorated rooms of your house.  They’re kind of like the threshold.  Your guests can see inside, but the street is also within earshot.

What am I talking about?  Let me put it this way… your landing page is where you load up on keywords.  Everything from “six bedroom house in Omaha with pool” to “Nebraska high end real estate.”  You throw everything you can out there onto your landing pages, and you spread these terms out over multiple landing pages, each with their own specific niche focuses.  It might not be pretty, but it brings your visitors to your home.

Your Real Estate Blog

Next, your landing pages have a call-to-action that brings visitors into the comfort of… your blog.  Your blog is where you can share valuable information.  This is not the SEO-heavy, keyword-centric content.  This is the meat: the juicy pieces that your visitors can savor.

If you’re curious to know what a great real estate blog looks like, I’m happy to recommend you the Zillow blog.  Zillow does a great job with their blog because they’re largely non-promotional.  They focus on being a valued resource, realizing that their audience will convert to customers as they consume more and more content.

Here are some great examples of Zillow’s non-promotional blog posts:

These posts are completely different from one another, but they both offer valuable content (albeit, of totally different natures).  Also, check out how non-promotional they are.  Then again, notice how slyly that second post encourages the reader to link through to additional resource pages.  Perfect.

Your Real Estate Content Approach

So what will your real estate content approach be?  Do you see major issues with either side of the SEO spectrum?  Or, do you believe there’s a better way to reach a happy medium?

Do you have any thoughts on what a good real estate blog should do?

SEO Photo via Shutterstock

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Focus Less on Lead Generation and More on Good Customer Service

Making more money doesn’t necessarily require finding more clients – in fact, keeping your current customer base happy can naturally attract new ones like moths to a flame.

This might strike many of you as obvious, but acquiring new customers (especially for a B2B biz) is incredibly hard. I see a lot of entrepreneurs at early-stage companies pouring massive amounts of marketing dollars into acquiring new customers through various channels. If you are like most Internet entrepreneurs, you realize how expensive and competitive it is to compete for a potential new customer’s time.

Over the past few months, my company and I (Scripted.com – a marketplace for business to hire freelance writers) have learned a few important lessons about lead generation and customer service:

1. Keeping existing customers happy is less expensive than acquiring new customers. In our case, we were missing a key feature of “topic pitching” that our customers requested, so we spent a week building it instead of increasing outbound sales. As a result, existing customers started posting 46 percent more jobs, plus a 15 percent increase in one month of customers posting more than one job on the site. Overall, customers also reported being happier with our service.

You probably have a similar lever in your business; you just have to figure out what it is. Plus, because of the 46 percent increase in number of jobs businesses post, revenue swung drastically positive (without any investment in marketing or sales).

2. Keeping existing customers happy means more referral business. One thing that entrepreneurs often forget is that your best salespeople are the ones who love your product. The introduction of the new “topic pitching” feature not only resulted in more job postings from businesses, but also more new referrals. We started receiving a lot of inbound leads from current customers.

By shifting our resources to creating a feature that our customers demanded, we learned that we can get our own customer base to naturally increase lead generation. Referrals, as a percentage of total revenue our business generates, shot up to 55 percent in recent months. You build a lot of great karma with your existing customers if you build what they ask for and keep them happy.

3. Keeping existing customers happy is easy with online tools. We started using a great tool called Customer.io for retention programs, and it is making a huge difference. There are a lot of other similar tools out there, but this one essentially takes the work out of building “logic” around your retention programs. We now have emails going out to customers regularly if they become idle or behave in certain ways on our site. In our case, what if a customer posts a job, but is idle for 30 days? Is it because they were not happy with the service they received, or for some other reason? Once you start dissecting that data, it paints a really interesting picture of your business and helps you improve in ways you hadn’t imagined before.

All of the tools are out there for you to keep your existing customers even happier than they already are, so definitely take advantage of as many retention tools as possible!

Sunil Rajaraman is the co-founder and CEO of Scripted.com, a marketplace for businesses to hire freelance writers.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Read Impact Equation to Help You Harness Your Social Media Message

Impact EquationPssst.  Don’t tell anyone, but I must be one of the few people engaged in the social media and Internet marketing space who hasn’t read Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan) and Julien Smith’s (@Julien) first New York Times best seller, Trust Agents.  It was a Reader’s Choice for the Small Business Trends  2009  Business Book Awards, but I just didn’t get to it at the time.

That’s why I was very happy to receive a review copy of their newest book The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?

In the introduction to the book (and in several of their online interviews) Brogan and Smith say they never wanted to write a sequel to Trust Agents, but it seems like that’s what their audience wanted.

So, if you’re one of those people who read and loved Trust Agents or who were left with a little something missing after reading Trust Agents – you will want to pick up a copy of The Impact Equation.

The Impact Equation Focuses You On What Matters Most

I’d say that this is really a book about how to effectively communicate in today’s world.  Now that you have several solid years of social media under your belt, what would you say is missing for you?  You might struggle with this question because you’re overwhelmed by the mountains of online media channels and the myriad ways of how to use them effectively.

Brogan and Smith did this work for you and decided that what was missing was – IMPACT.  And to tie their concept together, they created the following equation that serves as the platform for the book:

Impact = Contrast x (Reach+Exposure+Articulation+Trust+Echo)  or
Impact = C x (R+E+A+T+E)  — If you’re like me and didn’t catch the cool acronym it’s Impact = Create.

The authors are adamant that this book is NOT about social media – while being about communicating using social media.  It’s a tough distinction to get across and I have to admit, I was a bit confused at first.  I think the analogy that cleared it up was this one:

“Saying that this book is about social media is like saying that Moby Dick is a book about boats.”

Ok – I think I get it now.

The Impact Equation is about CONTEXT and not about CONTENT.  What they are trying desperately to get across is that you should be approaching your online communications from the context of making an impact – a difference in the world.

The social media tools that they talk about throughout the book are really nothing more than vehicles to help you achieve your goal of making an impact instead of just noise.

How To Get The Most From The Impact Equation

As I mentioned before, I had a bit of a challenge “getting into” the book.  I started reading and felt somewhat overwhelmed by the content.  I just didn’t get where they were going with this at first. That’s when I turned to the table of contents and spent a little bit of time just digesting it.  I’d recommend you do the same.

You’ll notice that the book is divided into four parts:

  1. Goals
  2. Ideas
  3. Platforms
  4. Network

Brogan and Smith then broke up the Impact Equation into each of those parts:

The Goals section contains the introduction of working with the Impact Equation.  This is where they introduce the concept and explain each element.

In the Ideas section, they discuss Contrast and Articulation.  In other words, Contrast and Articulation are what you have to do with your ideas.  In order to accomplish this – you need a clear idea; one that can be contrasted and articulated via a variety of channels.

My favorite section in the book was the one about Platforms.  In this section, they discuss Reach and Exposure.  It’s my experience that people really struggle with platforms.  And if you find yourself wondering which platform will help you achieve your goals, you’ll want to read this section more than once.

Finally, they get into your Network.  Inside this section, the authors get into what it takes to build on the Trust component and the Echo component of the Impact Equation.  As much as they try to avoid getting into the details of social media tasks, you will find them there and I think that these examples and their advice only add to the relevance of the book.

How To Tell If Impact Equation Should Be On Your Reading List

First of all, if you’re a Chris Brogan and Julien Smith fan, you’ll want to read this book.  It will give you all the things you love about them and then some.

If you are an online publisher, blogger or small business that has social media and internet marketing as a core strategy, reading The Impact Equation will help you to tighten up your message and your communication style online.

Just as an example: I visited Chris Brogan’s Facebook page and my Facebook page (the personal ones) and I can definitely see the difference.  Chris’ Facebook page not only features his personality and personal life, but seamlessly integrates his professional brand as well.

One task I’m taking on is to make my Facebook page posts more intentional, deliberate and purposeful as I move forward.  As you read through the book, you’ll find yourself doing much of the same thing; reading, checking online, comparing and creating some new strategies for yourself.

Small business owners who are still a bit confused or overwhelmed by the entire online and social media marketing space will benefit from reading The Impact Equation.  My only advice would be to not read a few pages and throw it down in disgust because you’re not getting it right away.  Give yourself time and space to process the information.  Put it down for a day or two and pick it up again.  I promise you will see the content differently.

Overall, The Impact Equation is slated to be one of those books you have to read if you’re in the social media space.  Ignore it, and you’ll likely feel left out the next time you’re chatting Internet trends and social media.

The post Read Impact Equation to Help You Harness Your Social Media Message appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Adding Value — By Getting Out of the Business

No one will pay big bucks for your company if they don’t believe it can run without you. Here’s how to show it can.

When you started your business, the chances are pretty good that someone handed you a copy of Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth and said, “Read this.” Ever since, you have appreciated the importance of building systems into your business so that it can run without you. But there is another benefit to systematizing your business and documenting your processes: It will help you get paid more when you’re ready to cash out.

Take, for example, Robert Verdun’s Computerized Facility Integration, LLC (CFI), which has sales of about $20 million a year. Verdun and his team help big companies manage their investments in real estate; clients include Dow Chemical and Pfizer.

Verdun is not looking to sell, but he was willing to allow me and my colleague, John Duguid, managing director of Gallium Corporate Finance, to look at his company and give him advice about how he could prepare CFI to be sold if and when the time ever comes.

When we got to know Verdun’s business, we realized just how well Verdun had standardized the squishy business of moving offices. “You don’t just move a person,” says Verdun. “There are many people involved. We have to take into consideration movers, construction, permits, artwork, IT, security, capital planning, and more.” Verdun says his company can save its clients about $300 to $500 for each move it takes on. ”Most big companies move more than 40 percent of their people every year,” he says, “so it adds up quickly.”

Verdun has cross-trained his staff so that most of his people can do more than one job in the company. That way, in the event of an employee departure, a cross-trained staffer can slip into the open spot, follow the instructions the company provides, and get the work done.

Not only has this helped Verdun scale his company–which was number 3,052 on the 2011 Inc. 5000 list–but it will also help him get out cleanly when he’s ready to sell. Most service businesses are overly reliant on a couple of key personnel, which is risky for a buyer. When it comes time to sell, most acquirers of service businesses are reluctant to offer a decent multiple upfront. Instead, they prefer to pay the principal(s) the bulk of their money in an “earn out.” This requires the seller to hit certain targets over the next year or two (or even three) in order to get paid for the sale, effectively shifting the risk from the buyer to the seller.

For example, I know one multinational advertising agency that has a standard formula for acquiring marketing businesses: 10 x earnings, three of which are paid on closing, with the other seven available–potettentially–if the owner(s) hits a series of targets in the future.

Imagine you’ve worked your entire adult life to build an advertising agency up to a million dollars of EBITDA and a buyer comes along and offers you $10 million for your life’s work; only to take most of it away in the fine print by putting $7 million at risk in what amounts to a potential bonus for three years of your life spent as a middle manager in a multinational conglomerate.

Most CEOs would rather get paid on closing, which is what Verdun is poised to do when he’s ready to sell. “Assuming CFI’s business systems, processes and key employees stand up to buyer due diligence,” says Gallium’s Duguid, “the necessity of having Robert stay on is significantly reduced, and his mergers and aquisitions advisor would be resisting an earn-out.”

Yes, your systems will help you scale up, but the hidden reason to focus on systems has nothing to do with running your business. Instead, it has everything to do with being able to make a clean break when you’re ready to hit the eject button.

LinkedIn Releases One-Click Endorsements for Professional Skills

Have you suddenly been receiving a lot of endorsements?  There’s an explanation for that.

LinkedIn recently launched a new feature called Endorsements. The feature allows LinkedIn users to endorse their connections on a specific skill or area of expertise with one click, instead of needing to write a whole review.

And visitors are prompted to leave endorsements as soon as they go to the LinkedIn site.  Here’s what the new feature looks like:

The result?  It’s now super simple and fast to endorse your connections.  And it is now more likely that YOU will receive endorsements.

How the new LinkedIn Endorsements works

When you visit the LinkedIn profile of one of your connections, you will see a big blue box prepopulated with a list of their skills (examples: entrepreneurship, or online marketing).  You just click to endorse one or more of them.  It’s also just one click to remove any skills you don’t wish to endorse (click the little x next to the listed skill to remove it from the endorsement box).

If you know of other skills the person has that aren’t listed, you can type them in manually. Then that person can accept those suggestions and add them to his or her profile page.

LinkedIn already has a Like feature that lets users give a one-click thumbs-up to posts in groups or status updates. But the Endorse feature is meant specifically for skills.  Unlike status updates or posts, it stays on your main page instead of being pushed out over time as you add more status updates.

When you receive an endorsement, you’ll be sent an email as well as a notification on LinkedIn. All of the people who have endorsed you will be visible at the bottom of your profile page.  Their thumbnail picture appears next to the skill they endorsed you for.

The pros and cons of LinkedIn Endorsements

This move creates even more opportunities for LinkedIn users to connect with one another and add credibility to their profiles.

  • Validation of your skills - An endorsement from another user you’ve worked with in the past can help validate the skills you’ve listed for yourself.  It shows potential employers, partners, or clients that others recognize you’re good at core skills.
  • Data for employers to screen during recruiting - Likewise, if you are a small business owner or manager who is recruiting potential employees or partners, it gives you another data point.  If one person has 5 endorsements for a skill or capability you consider crucial, versus another person who doesn’t, you may decide to reach out to the one with the endorsements.  It’s just one more data point signifying that the person actually has the necessary skills and expertise he or she has listed.
  • Forge stronger bonds - Endorsements can forge stronger bonds with connections who endorse you.  After all, it’s a nice shot in the arm to receive an endorsement, and know that your connections recognize and appreciate your skills.  You probably will get a warm feeling whenever you think of someone who cared enough to endorse you.  And after you receive an endorsement you will be asked if you want to reciprocate — again, another opportunity to forge a bond with that person.

The downsides?  The biggest downside is that the new Endorsements feature doesn’t lend itself to much depth.  But consider the new LinkedIn skills endorsements as a starting point, rather than a replacement, for employment screening  or a full recommendation.

For now, LinkedIn Endorsements as a feature is just available in English across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Endorsements are expected to roll out to all users and all languages over the next few weeks.

The post LinkedIn Releases One-Click Endorsements for Professional Skills appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Check Out This List! Small Business and Entrepreneur Contests

We are back again with our bi-weekly listing of small business and entrepreneur contests and awards.  Check it out!

Dell $100M Innovators Credit Fund
Ongoing

Dell has launched a $100 million Innovators Credit Fund, with the purpose of helping entrepreneurs “maximize potential for innovation, speed to market and job creation.” The credit fund will offer both funding and technology resources with IT support, depending on what each start-up needs.

To be eligible, you must have already received some angel funding or venture capital before you can apply. Start-ups can get up to 10% of its current funding or up to $150,000 with limited credit terms. See website for details and application.

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The Big Reboot
Multiple Contests & Entry Dates

Toshiba, Intel and Staples have teamed up to help small businesses share their stories and win thousands of dollars in new technology. Throughout 2012, they will award $10,000 technology makeovers to American businesses and free Intel-powered Ultrabooks to the people who support them.

Categories include Powering Knowledge, Powering Innovation, Powering Service, Powering Products, and Powering Good. See website for details and entry guidelines.

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Best Places to Work in Connecticut
Enter by October 5, 2012

To be eligible for consideration, companies must meet the following criteria:
Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity
Be a publicly or privately held business
Have a facility in the state of Connecticut
Have a minimum of 15 employees working in the state of Connecticut*
Must be in business a minimum of 1 year

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MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series
Enter by October 26, 2012

The 2012-2013 MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES) business plan competition is now open and accepting entries.

Since 1999, MillerCoors has invested more than $1.7 million in the dreams of entrepreneurs. This year brings new opportunities for entrepreneurs like you. Enter your business plan for a chance to vie for a $50,000 business grant and potentially become a MillerCoors supplier.

 

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StartupNationStartupNation Home-Based 100 Competition
Enter by October 31, 2012

The fifth annual StartupNation Home-Based 100 Competition is now open and accepting entries. The Competition is a ranking of outstanding home businesses and the amazing people behind them. With more than 18 million home-based businesses in the United States, StartupNation’s competition is aimed at celebrating the most successful businesses in this important segment of the market. Entries are accepted until the end of October. The 100 winners will be published in mid-December 2012. Winners can receive priceless exposure in the media and be positioned to take their business to the next level.

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The Small Business Challenge
Enter by October 31, 2012

The Small Business Challenge is a way for companies to compete for up to $50,000 in cash & prizes, while creating new jobs in the USA. Starting September 1st, you can register, nominate or vote for your favorite small business & help create new jobs in America.

Eligible Small Businesses can compete for $25k prize value (1st Place), $15k prize value (2nd Place), and $10k prize value (3rd Place) to help create new jobs in America.

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FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Enter by November 24, 2012

Grow your business with a small business grant of up to $25,000.
Entering is simple. Click the contest registration button below and submit your business story and photo by November 17. Once your application is approved, you can vote for yourself once a day – and get all your friends, customers, and associates to vote as well – through November 24.
Winners will be chosen from the top 100 companies in the contest based on how compelling your story is and how many votes you can get for your business. So tell us your story today, and you could walk away with up to $25,000 to invest in your business.

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Infusionsoft Battle of the Apps
Enter by December 31, 2012

Do you have a great idea for an Infusionsoft App, integration or plug-in that will enhance the Infusionsoft user experience? Then you have a shot at being crowned the Kick Apps Champion in the Battle of the Apps 2013. First prize is $10,000. See website for details.

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Shopify Build-A-Business Competition
Enter by December 31, 2012

Shopify has teamed up with four world-class entrepreneurs to
help you build a million-dollar business in just months. Come up with a product to sell, open your online store and pick a mentor. The Shopify community and your mentor will give you great advice and guidance along the way. At the end of the competition, the four stores that sell the most over a two month period will each win a $50,000 investment from their mentor.

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The list of awards and competitions is brought to you by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com.

To find more small business events, contests and awards, visit our Small Business Events Calendar.
If you are putting on a small business contest, award or competition, and want to get the word out to the community, please submit it through our Small Business Event and Contests Form (it’s free).

Please note: The descriptions provided here are for convenience only and are NOT the official rules. ALWAYS read official rules carefully at the site holding the competition, contest or award.

The post Check Out This List! Small Business and Entrepreneur Contests appeared first on Small Business Trends.